Cistus laurifolius

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Cistus laurifolius
Cistus laurifolius2LEST.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Malvales
Family: Cistaceae
Genus: Cistus
Species: C. laurifolius
Binomial name
Cistus laurifolius

Cistus laurifolius, commonly called laurel-leaf cistus,[1] laurel-leaved cistus[2] or laurel-leaved rock rose, is a species of highly branched flowering evergreen shrub native to some areas around the Mediterranean. It grows 0.8–2 m (2 ft 7 in–6 ft 7 in) high. The branches are strong and erect, with reddish bark that is easily removed in strips. The leaves are larger than in the other species of Cistus, up to 9 cm (4 in) long, lanceolate, dark green, while the underside is whitish due to trichomes. The flowering occurs in late spring (May–June), later than most rockroses.[3] It bears white flowers with a yellow spot in each petal, of 4.5–5 cm diameter[4] It is widely cultivated in gardens, and has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.[5]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

Cistus laurifolius has a disjunct natural distribution, in the Western Mediterranean area (Morocco, Portugal, Spain, southern France, Corsica and Tuscany), the Aegean[clarification needed] and Anatolia.[4]

With the general warming of the atmosphere and the consequent withdrawal of the ice, flora surviving from Tertiary times could not re-establish their range in southern Europe;[clarification needed] the new post-glacial climate was drier than that of the Tertiary. The original tropical European flora evolved into the present Mediterranean sclerophyll flora.[6][7][8] The distribution of some surviving species, such as Cistus laurifolius, moved to wetter areas such as the mountains.[8] Due to this, C. laurifolius is named in Spanish in its distribution area as "mountain rockrose",[8] although in the coastal west and northwest Iberian Peninsula, it is found at sea level.[9][dubious ]

Cistus shrubland, including C. laurifolius, survives fire and has seeds that germinate after fire.[10]


Different vegetative and reproductive stages of Cistus laurifolius
Laurel-leaf cistus in its ecosystem. 
General view of the shrub. 
Young branches with the large leaves. 
The fruits are capsules, with dehiscence revealing seeds within. 



  1. ^ "USDA GRIN Taxonomy". 
  2. ^ "BSBI List 2007". Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 2015-01-25. Retrieved 2014-10-17. 
  3. ^ Filippi, Olivier (2007). Pour un jardin sans arrosage (For a garden without irrigation). Arles: Actes Sud. p. 207. ISBN 978-2-7427-6730-4. 
  4. ^ a b Flora Iberica 3: 331
  5. ^
  6. ^ John W. Harshberger (1926). "Mediterranean Garigue and Macchia (first page)". Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society. 65 (1): 56–63. 
  7. ^ Fernández-Mazuecos, M.; Vargas, P. (2010). "Ecological rather than geographical isolation dominates Quaternary formation of Mediterranean Cistus species". Molecular Ecology. 19 (7): 1381–1395. PMID 20196815. doi:10.1111/j.1365-294x.2010.04549.x. 
  8. ^ a b c Beatriz Guzmán; Pablo Vargas (2005). "Systematics, character evolution, and biogeography of Cistus L. (Cistaceae) based on ITS, trnL-trnF, and matK sequences" (PDF). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 37: 644–660. PMID 16055353. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2005.04.026. 
  9. ^ Antonio Rigueiro Rodríguez; Fco. Javier Silva-Pando. "Aportaciones A La Flora De Galicia, I." (PDF). Anales Jard. Bot. Madrid. 40 (2): 385–395. 
  10. ^ R. Tárrega; E. Luis-Calabuig; I. Alonso (1997). "Space-time heterogeneity in the recovery after experimental burning and cutting in a Cistus laurifolius shrubland". Plant Ecology. 129: 179–187. 
  11. ^ "". 

External links[edit]